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Organizing My Life

Before Ava was born, I thought I would have plenty of time for a baby. I always managed to squeeze in a little more time for an emergency work project, so why not put a baby into the mix? HAHAHAHA! It turns out that babies are very time consuming. I know, right?


Multitasking and Organization

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop multitasking and get more organized. I am still very short on sleep and easily distractable. So trying to do work and quickly checking the internet is a horrible idea.  I installed a Chrome extension to block specified websites like Facebook after 11 minutes.  It’s all configurable, and that is enough time to check junk websites in between projects.

For organization, I rely on technology. Google is my savior. Jon and I have already been sharing calendar entries for years. Now I also schedule in weekly tasks, such as when I’m supposed to take out the garbage so I don’t forget. I also make sure to instruct my Nexus 4 to remind me to do things at times when I can actually respond to the task. For example, I create a lot of reminders for 10:30 because that is a time when I am good at getting things done.


Meal Planning and Grocery List

I use a task application to plan meals for the week.  I add meals as tasks and when you mark the tasks as completed, it grays out the task so it’s still visible but not prominent.  If everyone likes a meal, I can add it into the rotation.  If the meal is bad, I delete the task and it’s removed from the application.

I’m very proud of my homemade chili-cheese nachos.



For making my grocery list, I used to use an application that allowed me to define different stores and I would add items for each store.  It didn’t work perfectly because if one store was out of an item and I had to go to another store, I would have to toggle through all the lists.


A few weeks ago, Jon bought an Amazon Echo and it’s replaced my old grocery list application.  It’s such a fun application.  You speak instructions, like “Alexa, add spinach to my shopping list” and it recognizes my speech about 80% of the time.  You can also ask it questions like “Alexa, how many cups are in a quart,” which is so helpful when you’re cooking.  The Echo also plays music from your Prime list, from music you stored in the Amazon cloud, and they just added the ability to play music from Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora.


For recipes, I use Evernote and it’s fantastic.  I can add recipes and categorize them according to tags.  I try to have different types of meals each week, such as a potato dish.  So I can search for all recipes that include potato as an ingredient.  I like including the recipe in Evernote, make my own modifications, and add a URL from the original recipe at the bottom.


Nom, nom, nom.  This is such a good cookie.



Oh hey, what’s that in the background?


Keep away from my cookie!


Ava went to Chicago last week!  The flight was great.  Ava did a fantastic job of drinking from bottles during takeoff and landing so the air pressure change didn’t bother her too much.  The flight to Chicago started at 6:50 p.m.  Ava slept for an hour and then she was awake, but calm.  She had trouble getting comfortable on my lap.  The flight back was at 3:40.  Ava slept for an hour and the rest of the time she wanted me to keep her entertained.  The three hour flight was about as much as she can handle.  It lucky that I had a bag full of toys.


Ava met my mom, my grandmother, and lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Everyone loved her, naturally.  She slept in a pack ‘n play and it didn’t change her sleeping schedule.  Considering how hard the transition was to get Ava to sleep in her crib, it’s amazing that she slept in the pack ‘n play without protest.


In other news, tooth!  This is the tooth that took over the household.



Ava’s sleep has been even worse that before.  For the past two days she woke up for the day at 5:30.  Not cool, Ava, not cool.  She might be teething again or sick.



Ava has learned to wave bye.  She waves when people come through the front door.  It’s so cute!


Ava is about to go off to college!  Who is this grownup girl?

Give me your camera.


Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is so squirmy lately.  I’m having trouble changing her diapers because she twists onto her stomach, lifts her legs, or tries to take her diaper off.
  • This month Ava started lifting up her legs in preparation for crawling, but she can’t move by making the motions.  
  • These days she gets around by rolling everywhere.  She’s good at rolling in a circle to change direction.


  • Ava is standing for longer and longer.  I wonder if she’ll bypass crawling and go straight to walking.



Foods and Liquids

  • For Christmas Jon bought me a slushy maker  and a great recipe book with different recipes for slushies and smoothies.  I’ve been trying different mixes for Ava and myself.
  • I think her favorite smoothie was yogurt, cherries, and pomegranate juice.  Ava had 1/2 cup of it, which is possibly the most I’ve ever seen her eat in one sitting and it wasn’t even mealtime.  It was supposed to be a snack!
  • She also really liked apples, carrot, and ginger.  I think that was my favorite.
  • The biggest failure was kiwi, orange, mango, and yogurt.  Ava disliked it so much she pushed it out of her mouth.  I suspect she doesn’t like mango.
  • I also made butternut squash, which Ava enjoyed.
  • I’ve been giving Ava different types of cookies and puffs so she can practice her grabbing skills.  She doesn’t have a pincer grip yet, but she can grab the cookies.


  • Ava cut a tooth this month.  I’m excited about her being able to use her teeth to eat different types of food.


  • Sleep was going really well for five straight days.  Ava was sleeping for 4-6 hours straight, and I was also sleeping as opposed to several months ago when if she slept for awhile I would wake up in a panic.  But then she cut a tooth and she either wakes up three times a night, or even worse.  


  • This month Ava called me “Ah-gee.”  I think it’s been a week or so since she said it, though.  But she’s called Jon “da da” consistently.  She also says “hi” in the appropriate context.  

Ava Grows up

My baby has a tooth coming through!  I could feel the nub last Saturday and I can see an outline of the tooth today.  This may be one of the last pictures of her toothless gummy smile.



She’s changing so quickly.  Ava can sit up on her own and she’s been playing by herself.  She prefers it when you give her new toys to play with every few minutes and she likes the toys that make noises.



She’s scooting less and rolling more lately.  Ava can push her legs up with her knees, but she can’t move her legs and propel her body.  She just practices the movement and then rolls over.



Before Ava cut her tooth, she was sleeping wonderfully.  I had been getting 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Last night she woke up at 9:30; 11:00; 12:30, 3:45; 5; 6; and then at 7 when she was up for the day.  Tonight I’m going to give her Tylenol because I’m working on a theory that she wakes up because her teeth are bothering her.  Wish us luck!



2014 Year in Review

It’s that time again!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I had a C-section.  I really wanted a natural birth, but for Ava’s safety and my own, it was necessary to have a C-section.  I’m not disappointed because both of us are healthy, which is the most important thing.  The doctor said I could try for a VBAC if I had a second baby, but I think I’ll probably elect to have another C-section if and when the time comes.  A doctor friend of mine pointed out that VBACs can result in this (seriously, do not click if you’re at all squeamish), and as of now there is no way that I want to risk that happening.

2014-12-07 08.37.49

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My only resolution for 2014 was to keep up with my classes.  I took an additional quarter of classes in 2014, but then stopped because I didn’t want to have Ava in the middle of the quarter.  And then it was too demanding to handle a baby and work to add classes to the mix.  I’d like to start the classes again, but I’m taking the Utah bar in February, so the earliest I would take classes is next summer.

My resolutions for 2015 are as follows:

(1) Lose weight.  I was doing really well before Halloween and then I got cocky and indulged in too much candy.  Chocolate is truly my weakness.  Then with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve done a lot of backsliding.  My goal for 2015 is to lose 30 pounds.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to go back to counting calories and, at least for the first month, try to detox from chocolate.

(2) Stay focused.  I don’t know if it’s sleep deprivation or what, but I have a lot of trouble concentrating.  I started using a Chrome extension from StayFocused.com that starts blocking specified websites if you spend too much time on them.  It’s helping a lot.

(3) Get organized.  I have too much work to do in the time allotted.  I’m also scatterbrained.  So I’ve been relying on technology to help organize my life.  I have a post coming up about the specific technology I’m using.  I also want to finish organizing the house.  My closet and bureau are too disorganized and my papers are in too many places.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Tiffany’s hat and blanket put to good use!



4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

2015 is going to be the year that I become more settled about myself.  Last year I felt very out of sorts because I was confused about what I wanted to do with my career and how becoming a mother would change my sense of self.

I was very scared that I would be a terrible mother.  When Ava was born and in her fussy stage, I was scared to be alone with her.  I didn’t know what to do when she cried and I didn’t want to harm her through ineptitude.  But after she cried for hours and was still okay, I eventually became comfortable with her.  And now I have no problem taking care of her.  She rarely cries now and it’s mostly only for silly things like when I put her down on the bed and she’d prefer that I hold her.  Each week brings new skills and I love seeing her change.


I haven’t quite solved the career situation, but I’m okay with it for now.

So for 2015, I want to become more comfortable with myself and manage my anxiety better.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 11, 2014 is the day Ava was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This seems to be the answer for a lot of these questions, but making the most perfect beautiful baby that has ever existed is quite an achievement.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I let my lack of sleep interfere with work.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I’m not sure if the C-section counts as an injury, but it has taken awhile to recover.  I still don’t have complete feeling around the scar, and it often twinges.  I haven’t been sick since Ava was born, knock on wood.  Can nursing keep you healthy?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

It hasn’t arrived yet, but Restoration Hardware had a good sale right before Christmas, so I splurged on a cabinet for my bathroom.  I’m pretty excited to have a place to put towels again.  I’ve been living out of a tiny closet in the bedroom, and it’s a hard adjustment from the two walk-in closets I had at the old house.  I know you’re weeping for me right now.

I also bought these wonderful socks that have the pattern of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” on them.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Buying a new house and paying for a nanny.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Ava eclipses all other exciting things, but I’m also pretty psyched to have a huge kitchen with an oven rack.  For Christmas Jon bought me a beautiful cookware set.  Guess who made it?  That’s right, OXO!  Jon had a gorgeous ring custom made for me with Ava’s birthstone on it.  I love it so much.

14. What songs will always remind you of 2014?

I sang a lot of Beatles songs to Ava, especially in the first couple months when I was trying to get her to stop crying.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Much, much happier.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner, but only because I’m not pregnant.
– richer or poorer? Poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleep.  But I didn’t have much of a choice in that one.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry about things that were beyond my control.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Spending time with family and cooking delicious meals.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

I still love The Walking Dead but I haven’t actually watched the latest season because Ava won’t tolerate TV.  I have kept current with The Big Bang Theory, though.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I thought I read a ton of books in 2014, but according to Goodreads I’ve only read 15.

I went through a huge post-apocalyptic phase.  Jon turned me onto the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch.  I also really enjoyed the classic Alas Babylon by Pat Frank and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  I was disappointed in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  It was on a list of the best books in 2014 so I was expected it to be fantastic.  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood was so good, it’s making me consider reading The Handmaid’s Tale again.  I didn’t like it the first time I read it, but I might enjoy it more if I treated it as a literary work instead of a book to read for pleasure.

In more fluffy selections, I liked Sleep is for the Weak, which is a compilation of selections from mommy blogs, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Husband’s Secret by Lianne Moriarty.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I discovered St. Vincent this year and I liked J. Mascis’ solo album.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The only film I can remember watching is Birdman.  It was fantastic.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34 and I worked.  Jon and I got sushi for lunch.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If there was a way to feel like I could be both an amazing mother and a great attorney.

25. What kept you sane?

Jon took care of Ava in the mornings to help me get more sleep during a critical time.

Merry Christmas II

The new house is a lot smaller than the old one so we didn’t put up a big tree this year.  Instead I picked up a lighted tree from Restoration Hardware.  Before adding the ornaments, I put Ava’s toys on the tree.  What do you think?



I am ridiculously sentimental when it comes to Christmas trees.  I love picking up ornaments each year and reminiscing about them each year.  My aunt gives us wonderful ornaments and I really cherish them.  She gave us an ornament with Jon and my wedding anniversary on it, a tiny blue jay, a snowman with my name, and countless others.  This year she gave us a baby’s first Christmas ornament.



I bought an ornament for Ava as well.



Jon also decorated the outside of the house.  In addition to the usual lights, put in two flamingos.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  Jon and I picked out an outfit for Ava for Christmas.  She wasn’t too happy to wear it for long, though.  This was the happiest image that I got.


My father, step-mother, and aunt came for the holiday so Ava probably felt like a movie star in front of the paparazzi.  There were clicks and flashes everywhere.  As a result, most of the images look like this.



I also got this image of a bear on her butt.  Bare butt, geddit?!


I switched her to a much more comfortable outfit for opening presents.  Ava enjoyed helping Jon with opening the presents.  She moistened the box for Jon.



Jon and Ava judged their presents.



Just kidding!  All the presents were a hit.  I think Ava most enjoyed a piano that Jon bought her.  Second best was a book from her great-grandmother.  Ava was able to play the piano while taking a selfie at the same time.  She’s so talented!





Ava also liked a baby doll that Jon bought her, although hilariously, she kept stealing the baby doll’s pacifier and sucking on it.  Ava doesn’t even use a pacifier.



Lastly, I was pretty happy with Christmas dinner.  I made salmon with rosemary and garlic, and roasted Brussels sprouts.  The sweet potatoes and corn pudding are from Trader Joe’s because I was trying to keep the preparation time to about 1.5 hours.  Another meal that was a big hit was lentils with goat cheese.


Ava was going through a needy phase where she wanted to be near me the whole time.  She even had a name for me: Ah-ghee.  Jon would take her so I could cook and after a few minutes Ava would say “Ah-ghee” and fuss until she saw me again.  I think all the activity was unsettling because her naps and sleep were terrible.  She was so sad the first day because she was incredibly tired.  After trying for hours, she only napped after I drove her in the car.  Fortunately, by the last day she settled back into a schedule.



Sleep to Dream

Ava’s bedtime routine is getting better. I start her routine at 7:30 with changing her diaper, changing Ava into her pajamas, filling up her humidifier, and making Ava a bottle. I give her the bottle and put her in the crib. If Ava falls asleep while eating, no problem. If she’s still awake, I kiss her cheek and put her in the crib, saying: “Night, night, Ava.” About 90% of the time, Ava will fall asleep without complaint. The other 10% includes a few minutes of complaints or a very occasionally inconsolable baby.


Ava is getting better about waking at 11 pm and 4 am and skipping the 2 am wakeup. I haven’t nursed her at 2am for several weeks. She gets plenty of food at 7:30 and 11, so she really doesn’t need to eat at 2 am.  I still take her into the bed after 4 am.  Lately I will finish nursing Ava and she turns on her side and burrows into my body before she falls asleep.  It’s incredibly satisfying to feel her move to get closer to me.


Last night Ava was up from 3:40 am to 5:30 am.  She had a fever and she just didn’t want to go back to sleep.  We tried everything: nursing, bottle, rocking, the glow worm, and nothing worked!  I still don’t know why she had the fever.  She always seems like she might be teething, but maybe she was sick?  I really hope it was an anomaly.


One funny thing about the hours when Ava sleeps in the bed is that Ava is good at nursing while I’m sleeping.  This has caused me to have weird dreams.  Once I had a dream that I bought Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook and when I walked up to him to ask him to autograph it, he started groping me.  I barely know who Gordon Ramsay is, but apparently my subconscious thinks he might be lecherous.  More often, I will dream that I am having trouble with my bra or I am nursing someone.

Daddy’s Girl

Jon is Ava’s favorite person in the world.  She gets so excited when he walks into a room.  If I’m holding her when Jon comes into view, she’ll start wildly kicking.



Ava loves to play rough.  She loves being lifted into the air and dropped onto the bed.  If you punch her in the stomach she kicks back.  She will stick her fingers in our mouths because she wants us to bite them.

Yeah, I like to stick my fingers in daddy’s mouth.  What of it?


Ava recognizes Jon as the one who will play rough with her and me as the one to snuggle with.  Case in point: in the morning Ava wakes up between me and Jon and turns herself to the side so I can hug her and she can kick Jon.

I can’t play the way that Ava prefers because I’m a wimp.  I think it’s genetic and Ava inherited this toughness from Jon.  If you throw Ava into the air, she grins like this:


These action shots are hard to get in focus, but you can tell how much she enjoys swinging.



Sometimes we go to the park and I swing with Ava strapped to me in a Baby Bjorn.  She laughs and laughs.  She’s fearless.

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